'terrible moment' | 

Seven feared killed as helicopter crashes off Italian coast

‘Our community is in shock. Nothing like this has happened in 30 years of service’

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Neil FetherstonhaughSunday World

At least seven people have died after a helicopter flying from Italy's Tremiti islands to the mainland crashed earlier today.

The aircraft came down about 50km from the city of Foggia, in the southern-east region of Apulia, with all seven on board believed to have been killed.

While weather conditions were reportedly “bad” a spokeswoman for the police's office in Foggia said the cause of the accident was still unknown.

The spokesperson added that asp police were still working to reach the site, the nationalities of the victims were not clear.

However, several Italian newspapers reported that four tourists coming from Slovenia were among the victims,

The mayor of the islands, Peppino Calabrese, told media that a local doctor had decided at the last minute to take the helicopter rather than the ferry "because of the bad conditions at sea".

"Our community is in shock. Nothing like this has happened in 30 years of service," he said.

The president of Apulia, who was attending a rally in Rome to call for peace in Ukraine, said in a post on Facebook that he had left the event to go to Foggia.

"On board the helicopter were seven people who all lost their lives. It is a terrible moment that leaves us dismayed," Michele Emiliano said on Facebook.

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